|Snorkelling in Puerto Rico|
Unfortunately, many people seem to assume that partaking in sports refers to men only, in some 'Islamic' cultures women are banned from many activities including cycling and even horse riding. One of the reasons I'd prefer not to mention (!) but the most common one is that it isn't modest for a woman to be running around etc, despite the fact that it is well known that the Prophet (pbuh) used to race his wife Aisha.
Swimming in poses a particularly difficult problem for women living in non-muslim countries where swimming pools and beaches are not segregated and unless you're rich enough to have your own private pool the options are rather limited. Sure some places have women's only sessions but they're not always on at times or in places that are convenient. Here in Portsmouth I know of 2 such sessions. One isn't too far away but the pool is too shallow to dive and the sessions are very busy. The other is far away and pretty late in the evening. Neither of these include baby swimming lessons or are particularly suitable places to take a baby.
Fortunately there is another option. A few years ago I decided to stop making my life difficult and let my religion be a positive thing in my life rather than a limitation! At university I undertook SCUBA dive training, I've also been diving in Malaysia and snorkelling in Puerto Rico. I now attend a non-segregated public swimming pool with my baby. The pool is 5 minutes walk from my house and open every day, and they do baby lessons!
No I haven't decided to abandon my modesty and starting walking around half naked. I wear a full body swimsuit including a head covering, I have become a member of pool so I can attend during 'member only' sessions. Before about 10am this means you almost have the whole pool to yourself! This is not only so it's quieter for my baby and so there's less men around but also so I don't have to walk around staring at the floor to avoid looking at people's 'awrah' (the Arabic term which refers to the intimate parts of the body - for a man this is his navel to his knees and for a woman - in front of other women, it's more or less the same). Thank God the life guards are fully dressed lol.
Anyway, I've now been using the same swimsuit for a while and I'd really like to get another one, but despite the rising popularity of the 'burkini' it's harder than I thought! Now I know you're supposed to wear lose clothes but considering the fact that it's going to stick to you anyway once it's wet I prefer something a little more fitted and streamlined.
And while I know you're not supposed to be 'attracting attention' I (like most girls!) still like to look nice (this is a debate to be having another time!), and wearing a big wet sack isn't my idea of looking nice I'm afraid. I did find this one site which has some really nice swimwear including the ones in the pictures, but it's pretty expensive. If anyone knows a cheaper one please let me know! Otherwise let's hope they have a sale soon!
Unfortunately I hardly if ever see any other muslim women swimming and I'm wondering why? In fact, I also jog along the sea front quite often and hardly see any other muslim girls jogging either! Maybe I don't go often enough I'm not sure, but why is this? Anyone would think Islam doesn't permit women to exercise, let alone recommend it as a sunnah of the prophet (saw)!
Update: interesting article I found here, which shows the founder of new line of 'modest' swimsuits giving a speech about the evolution of the swimsuit and how wearing a bikini affects how people see you, it's interesting and the swimsuits are lovely! Unfortunately not most enough for me but maybe for a ladies only swimming session...
|It's OK for Muslim girls to swim...!! OK?|